PPPSS News & Events

We’re In This Together: Morag’s Story

I thought I was so prepared to recognize PPD, and to get help if I needed it. But it took ages for me to realize that the fear and guilt over every single decision I made as a parent was not normal. The isolation of new motherhood didn’t help; I felt totally alone, and I was afraid that if I asked anyone if they felt the same way, they’d be horrified. Finding the supportive community of the Good Mother Project and  PPPSS has gone a long, long way toward making me feel understood and supported, and most importantly, that reaching out for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength.

 

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

 

We’re In This Together: Eran’s Story

Day after day, I sat on the couch with my baby, alone & crying, trying to painfully breastfeed, and wishing my husband would take a break from his work upstairs and come save me. I sat and watched Netflix, I read The Hunger Games Trilogy, and I obsessed over how much my baby was sleeping (and how much I was sleeping). I wanted to leave the house but I was afraid to leave the house. I wanted to be alone, but I felt a responsibility to my baby. I wanted to drive away and leave it all behind, but it made my heart hurt to think about it.

When my son was finally old enough to go in his Jolly Jumper, things finally started to change. I didn’t have to hold him anymore. My hands were free to do other things, and he could bounce and giggle. I made a playlist of all my old, favourite 90’s songs.  I played it on my iPhone while he “danced” away in his Jolly Jumper, and I sang along to old Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears songs. My husband came downstairs that first afternoon after I made the playlist, and he said “This is the first time I’ve heard you sing in months. You sound happy.”

It took a long time for me to feel like myself again, and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever feel like my pre-baby self. But what time and support allowed me to do was rediscover pieces of myself that I thought I lost when my son was born. I want other new moms to know that they will come out of the haze of breastfeeding or colic or sleepless nights, and they will find new joy. It doesn’t last forever. You will find yourself again.

 

 

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Robin’s Story

Being a mother is most rewarding life experience I’ve ever had, but it didn’t start out so great.

When my firstborn was about eight months old, I became extremely depressed, to the point where I had occasional psychotic episodes. It was a very dark time for our family, and I felt that if I told anyone but my husband what I’d been feeling that my son would be taken from me or I’d be locked up. So I kept quiet and muddled through. It was really, really hard.

When I was hit with postpartum depression again when my second son was about ten months old, this time with inexplicable rage, I knew I could no longer suffer in silence. I couldn’t live like that. And I didn’t want my kids to remember me like that. So I finally asked for help.

After trying a few different types of treatment, medication was what saved my life, and subsequently my relationship with my family. I have made it part of my life’s mission to make sure that other moms know that it’s okay to ask for help; had I done it sooner, the three years that I suffered would look very differently. Don’t wait it out. Talk to someone. You are not alone and you will get through this.

 

Robin

 

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Amanda’s Story

When my second child was born it felt like our family was complete and that we’d all live happily ever after. I’d had very little problems with my first child and was loving motherhood so I figured a second child would be no problem.

But I was completely unprepared for the stress and demands of raising two young children. Not only did I have a newborn that needed my love and attention 24/7 but also a toddler trying to deal with suddenly having to share me.

Raising two children felt like three times the amount of work and I quickly became exhausted, overwhelmed and angry. And with most of my days spent alone with my children that anger usually came out at my toddler. I had no patience left and would yell at my daughter constantly. I’d often say the first thing that came to mind, and it was rarely nice. I felt like a monster who was failing her children and family.

That’s when I called  Pacific Post Partum Support Society. The woman I spoke with was so kind and understanding, for the first time she made me feel like maybe I wasn’t so horrible, that maybe I was just doing my best under difficult circumstances. With her encouragement I started seeing a counselor who helped me realize how hard I was being on myself. I had given myself high and unattainable expectations and when I failed I’d be angry with myself and take it out on the wrong person.

My counselor asked me to write a list of all the negative things I said to myself and beside it a list of the positives. While my list of negatives was long, I struggled to even find a couple positives. As I looked at that list I realized that I would never have allowed another person to talk to me like that, so why was it okay for me to say those things to myself? How could I love my children the way I wanted to, when I didn’t even love myself? How could I give them patience and understanding when I had none of those for me?

By giving myself the space to be imperfect and acknowledge that I was in fact a good mother trying her hardest, I was able to let go of some of the guilt and shame that I carried.

I am still a work in progress but at least now I know I will probably always be one, and that’s okay.

Amanda Buck

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together

We’re In This Together: Joanna’s Story

I’d always wanted to be a mother. My earliest memories are of playing with my dolls- rocking them, feeding them, putting them to bed. I was constantly playing “family”, pretending to be pregnant and give birth, and imagining my future kids- I even made up pretend chore lists for them.

When I got married, I knew I wanted to have a family right away. I’d so been looking forward to being pregnant, and I was lucky enough to get pregnant with my daughter right away.

But I hated being pregnant. I was moody and grouchy and not at all myself. Looking back, I think I suffered from perinatal depression and anxiety, though I did not know it at the time.

After my daughter was born, I was surprised at how hard it was to have a newborn. I was not mentally, emotionally or physically prepared for the toll it had on me, and I felt as if everyone else who had a baby had a much easier time than I did. Luckily, my daughter was an “easy” baby, so I adjusted relatively quickly after the initial surprise, and my mental health went back to normal.

With my son, though, things were different from the get-go. What I thought was hard with my daughter was nothing like what I experienced with my son. Though undiagnosed, I definitely experienced perinatal depression and anxiety with him. I was unbelievably moody and miserable, worried all the time about everything, and constantly felt like I couldn’t breathe.

After he was born- a relatively smooth birth- things went downhill quickly. I experienced intense dizziness, due to my anxiety, all day long which basically confined me to the couch and bed. All I could do was breastfeed him, which drained me. I had to have an emergency procedure, which made my anxiety worse.

My son was colicky and miserable and hated the car, the stroller, the swing- anywhere that wasn’t attached to me. I was trapped in my house and in my mind. After a few weeks, the dizziness subsided so that I could at least get around, but the depression increased. I found myself unable to cope with much- I couldn’t fathom getting dinner ready, so instead sat on my couch, numb, watching my kids, waiting for my husband to come to solve the problem. Grocery shopping, or shopping of any kind, was out of the question, as was visiting with friends.

Everything was hard- too hard. I was isolated, sad, and needed help. Luckily, my mother recognized that I wasn’t myself, and so she urged me to seek help. My doctor referred me to a couple of different programs, one of which was Pacific Postpartum Support Society- and it completely changed my life. Hearing the comforting voices of the support workers on the phone, reassuring me that none of it was my fault and that I wasn’t alone, was the first step on my road to recovery.

My weekly meetings with other moms suffering from PPD were my life-saver. It was there that I felt accepted, validated, and supported, and began to heal. Motherhood is still hard. My kids are not perfect, and neither am I.

I have days where my anxiety gets away from me, days where I make parenting choices that I am not proud of, and days where I want to curl up and stay in bed. But the skills and strategies I’ve learned help me manage and cope when I feel like that. My anxiety is no longer in control of my life. So to anyone currently suffering- it’s hard. It really is. But it does get better. I promise you.

Joanna Noakes

 

We’re In This Together is a photography series, coordinated in partnership with the Pacific Post Partum Support Society and the Good Mother Project, that offers messages of encouragement, hope, support and love to new parents.
For more information on how you can share your message, please visit: http://goodmotherproject.com/were-in-this-together